Gamal Salie Lineveldt (1 Viewer)


Gamal Salie Lineveldt

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Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 1940 - 1941
Date of arrest: March 16, 1941
Date of birth: 1919
Victims profile: Women
Method of murder: Beating with a piece of hard piping and an axe
Location: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Status: Executed by hanging in 1942

Lineveldt, Gamal Salie (1919 - 1942)

Raped and kiled 4 women in South Africa in 1941. Sentenced to death on June 10, 1941. Was hanged in 1942.

The Cape Flats Murders — 1940

At about 8.30 a.m. on 4th October, a non-European man living on a farm in the Landowne District noticed a middle-aged European woman, injured and seemingly unable to move, lying in the "Port Jackson" bush a few feet outside the farm fence. He reported the matter to his master who telephoned the local police. Though injured about the head and unconscious, the woman proved to be alive and was accordingly removed to the Groote Schuur Hospital where she died early the following morning without having been able to speak.

Identified as a woman who resided a short distance away, enquiries showed that after visiting Cape Town the previous evening, she was seen by a relative to board a train at 8 p.m. for Claremont where she would have to change to a bus. From the Lansdowne terminus she presumably commenced to walk to her home, and after covering about half-a-mile, was attacked at an isolated part of her route near a path that could have been used as a "short cut". After being struck down, her wrists were bound with one of her stockings and she was dragged across sandy ground towards the farm fence where apparently her hands had worked free.

Her hat, a ring and her handbag, which had contained only a small amount of money, were missing, but there were indications that robbery was not the sole motive of the crime.

Continuous rain throughout the day cheated the police of many clues and little information of value could be picked up and around the scene. A statement was, however, obtained that at about 6 o'clock on the morning the body was found, a large dark motorcar, with a tall European wearing a blazer standing alongside, had been seen near the spot, and that, on being observed, this man had entered the car and driven rapidly towards town.

Expert opinion regarding the injuries of the woman was, that although not inconsistent with those that could have resulted from a motor accident, they could also have been caused by an instrument that had "weight, bluntness and momentum". Apart, therefore, from the suggestion of a premeditated attack, investigations were directed to the possibility of an accident having preceded an ultimate crime.

The field of enquiry was thus very wide and much information of possible value was under investigation when, less than three weeks later, the proprietress of a Kennel business on the Prince George Drive, Wynberg, was murdered as she sat at her living-room table reading the evening paper.

The tragedy, which occurred between 9 and 10 p.m. on the evening of the 22nd October 1940, was discovered at 7 a.m. the following day by the coloured housemaid, who gave an immediate alarm. Investigating officers quickly on the scene found that the victim, again an European woman of middle-age, had been assaulted in a manner similar to that revealed in the last case. There were two wounds on the head, and the pathologist who had been summoned expressed the opinion that a heavy blunt instrument had been used.

Parts of the woman's spectacles were near the opened evening paper on the table, and it was clear that while sitting in her chair she received the first heavy blow. The assailant then dragged the woman to the settee behind the chair where his second blow was delivered. The victim's stockings were removed, and the condition of her clothing established beyond reasonable doubt that the crime had been committed by the offender in the first case.

A handbag, which was on the table, had been rifled, but no other search had been made for money or valuables, the remainder of the house being undisturbed. The deceased had lived alone, and in the yard that was overlooked by the window of the living room, were kennels and "runs" accommodating numerous dogs which were either undergoing treatment by a veterinary surgeon or had been left temporarily at the kennels for care.

The premises were well protected at the sides and back by a high fence and it was unlikely that anyone could have entered the house from that direction without raising an alarm. An examination, however, showed the culprit had forced an entrance through the front bedroom window and then made his way quietly through the house to the room where the woman was sitting.

In so doing, he left an important clue, which was later destined to aid in the establishment of his identity. Apart from this, enquiries in the vicinity did not prove helpful, although it was believed the culprit had made himself well acquainted with both the premises and the locality, and knew that his victim lived alone.

The search for suspects, which had commenced with the Lansdowne case, was continued feverishly throughout the whole area with no success. Police enquiries and unobtrusive patrolling, though seemingly ineffective, may have perturbed the murderer, for the next crime, which occurred on the 11th November 1940, was committed at Wetton, some little distance from the from the scene of both previous cases, in broad daylight.

At about 10.15 a.m. a young European woman was washing clothes near a tap in front of the premises. She had occasion to enter the house and, on emerging, was struck a heavy blow on the head as she came through the door to the front stoep. She fell and was dragged to a bush in the grounds to the left front of the house, where a young Malay returning from the back of the premises where he had delivered groceries, came across the assailant and victim.

The former, who was described as a "strange coloured man" of medium build, ran through the gate to the road, and the Malay, sensing what was wrong, gave chase. After a short distance, however, the fugitive mounted a bicycle and made off in the direction of Lansdowne. The Malay turned back to get his own machine, and by the time he was able to resume the chase, the fugitive, who by then had covered considerable ground, was seen making his escape into the bush some distance off.

The Malay reported the matter immediately to the Lansdowne Police, and a detective who happened to be at the station accompanied him to continue the search. In the meantime the surrounding stations were notified, and with the addition of men mustered from Cape Town, the area was encircled and an intensive search, which continued through the night and well into the following day, was commenced.

After lingering some days the young woman died, and the nature and circumstances of her injuries marked the case as the third crime for which the murderer would now have to answer.

It was found that the Malay, an hour before the assault, had observed the culprit hanging around the house, and, from other information supplied by him and an European woman who had also notice the loiterer, a fair description of the wanted man was built up. Although these witnesses differed rather materially when giving particulars of the clothing worn, one important point seemed established, and that was that the bicycle on which the fugitive had ridden away had red tyres.

Apart, therefore, from some knowledge of the type of person to be sought, the police now had an important clue of which it was desired to reap the fullest advantage. The general search was therefore continued with unabated vigour. Employers — especially of casual labour — were visited and questioned, particularly in regard to the comings and goings of their employees. Men were stationed at suitable vantage points throughout Lansdowne, Wetton and Athlone to keep observation on non-Europeans in the locality and, as one witness in the last case had described the culprit as having "bulging eyes", the possibility of the wanted man being a dagga or drug addict was borne in mind.

It was, of course, realized that careful dissemination of the information regarding the red tyres was necessary if the culprit were not to be warned, and notwithstanding the discretion exercised, regrettable inconvenience was caused to a number of innocent people including at least one University student. Despite however, the intensive efforts of the police, which included the day and night patrolling of wide areas, the searching of huts and hovels and the subsequent checking up of hundreds of possible suspects, no progress was made, and, on the 25th November 1940, a fortnight after the last case, the next crime was committed.

A man boarding with a married couple residing in the Thornhill Rd., Rondebosch, returning in the late afternoon from his work, discovered his landlady lying dead across a bed with her feet touching the floor. Her head had received brutal blows, and in addition there was a gash in the neck, which indicated that a sharp-edged instrument had been used. The room was in disorder and a more complete examination of the scene made it clear that the murder was a further one in the series under investigation.

The house was situate about three miles from the scene of any of the previous cases and although not isolated, was a corner one with Port Jackson bush on the side from which observation could have been kept and the movements of the inmates watched. It was known that the woman had been gardening during the morning, and the presumed time of death indicated that she could have been attacked about midday on re-entering the house.

Footprints were discovered at the back of the property and the spoor of the bicycle tyres were found near the fence. Similar prints in the garden led to the assumption that the culprit had entered the house through the open window of a back bedroom, which adjoined that in which the body was found. Apart from indications that he had ridden off into the bush, the murderer left no clue as to his identity and an immediate search of the neighbourhood did not prove helpful.

The house itself however, did yield a clue, which would be of supreme importance only when the right suspect was in police hands.

The gravity of the situation was now obvious to all, for clearly there was at large in human form a hideous menace, which worked alone but whose lair and identity were unsuspected. With therefore an infallible means of identification at hand, there was now every justification for the unusual course of action which was subsequently adopted.

To relieve the local police of sole responsibility, and enable exclusive attention to be devoted to the further investigation, Senior Detective Officers under the personal direction of the then Head of the Union C.I.D., hurried from the Transvaal to supervise and assist in the greatest manhunt ever organized in the Peninsula and the Cape Flats.

Every possible man being employed, squads of police and detectives worked from dawn to late at night searching the difficult country of sand and bush which extended to Bellville in one direction, and Fish Hoek and Strandfontein in another, while detachments of men were stationed at key points to intercept workers returning to the area from the Cape Town side. Thousands of persons were interrogated and hundreds were detained for more thorough examination.

The inconvenience created was naturally the subject of some complaint, but the need for drastic action was realized and cooperation was more generally met. For two months the hunt was unrelaxed, but although its objective was not attained, no more murders were committed and it was considered not unlikely that the murderer had left the district.

Systematic investigations by the local police were resumed, but there were no developments until the afternoon of 11th March, 1941, when an European woman was molested in a Wynberg street by a coloured man who touched her clothing in an offensive manner. On her showing resentment, the man made off, but later the woman saw him again and asked a delivery boy to follow him. The boy, however, said he knew the man indicated, whereupon the woman reported the incident to the police.

To find the delivery boy, a shop-to-shop search became necessary, and when eventually traced to the employment of a Wynberg butcher, he admitted knowing the suspect, but was unable to say where he could be found. He was asked to try to locate him, and in this he succeeded, for on the evening of 16th March, he directed detectives to the Gaiety Theatre, Wynberg where one Gamut Salie Linneveld [Gamal Salie Lineveldt], a Malay male, 23 years of age, of small stature and slender build was arrested.

Linneveld was found to be minus his left thumb, but in his possession were found a ring and silver hat ornament, which were identified as having been worn by the Lansdowne victim. A bicycle with handlebars of the "butterfly" type described by a witness in the Wetton case and an axe were found in his room, where, hidden away, a red bicycle tyre was also discovered.

Subsequently, palm-prints connected him with the Prince George Drive case, while other prints proved his association with the Rondebosch crime.

Opportunity was given to several European women who had reported unpleasant assaults or cases of criminal injuria to attend a parade, which included Linneveld, and one or two identified him as the man concerned, while others were uncertain. One woman recognized him as the man she had once seen hanging around her house for a considerable time.

The Malay who had chased the suspect at Wetton and had ever since been employed to look for him, failed to pick him out, and it is interesting to record that Linneveld did not conform to any of the descriptions of the wanted man, which had been given to the police. He made no secret of having committed the crime, and readily explained that had chopped his thumb off because he feared the police might have his thumbprint.

In the first three cases he had struck his victims with a piece of hard piping, while in the fourth instance he had used an axe. It was established that the axe found in his quarters had been fitted with a new handle subsequent to the final murder.

On the evidence available, there was never any doubt about Linneveld's conviction, and, before the Supreme Court at Cape Town on the 10th June 1941, he was found guilty of four counts of murder and received the death sentence, which was duly carried out. Thus ended one of the most serious and disturbing outbreaks of crime on record in this country, and it is with no apology that this story ends by quoting the concluding lines of a "leader" which appeared at the time in a well-known Cape daily:-

"An attack on a woman, a fairly common-place crime apparently remote from the crimes, eventually provided the lead which led to the arrest of Linneveld. As reported to the public it looked easy but what must be realized is that for this one investigation which brought success there were many weary scores of others which were followed up with equal promptness, energy and thoroughness. The apprehension of this perpetrator of the most baffling type of crime in the criminal calendar was a triumph for the thorough, painstaking police system and a tribute to the Force, from the Chiefs to the hundreds of detectives and constables who put in so many weeks of heart-breaking effort."

Lt-Col P.H. Golby, Deputy Commissioner S.A. Police (Criminal Investigation Deparment)


MO: Raped/bludgeoned women.

DISPOSITION: Confessed all counts; hanged, 1942.

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